Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The “Dirt” on Disinfectants


Living with Germs in Harmony

Right now in your home, several colonies of tiny microorganisms, bacteria, viruses , mold spores and fungus are thriving in communities of their own. They live everywhere in your house - from toilets to sinks, door knobs to desktops. If this makes you cringe and gives you the urge to sanitize every inch of you home, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The truth of the matter is most microbes around us are harmless. Bacteria naturally thrive on our skin, in our digestive tract and in the world around us helping maintain a harmonious balance. Some microorganisms are beneficial to our health, like those cultures found in yogurt. They are marketed as “Probiotic” which is defined as ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.’

Is “Germ” the New Buzzword for Advertisers?

Many cleaning product manufactures cash in on our somewhat unnecessary fear of germs and feed into it. Did you know that nearly 75% of all liquid soaps contain some form of bacteria killing chemicals? It doesn’t stop there. The CDC cites over 700 products available on the market as “antibacterial”. Everyday products like toothbrushes, dishwashing detergents, hand lotions and cutting boards are now being laced with germ killing chemicals.
While some of these products do kill (and overkill) bacteria, buyer beware, some products do nothing at all. The EPA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have reprimanded and fined several manufacturers of antibacterial products for falsely implying that their products can kill bacteria.

Chemical and Environmental Dangers

Antibacterial products are not just poisonous to germs; they are poisonous to you and the environment as well. The EPA cites 275 different active ingredients in antimicrobial products that are classified as pesticides.
Because of potential health risks and environmental impact, antibacterial agents and disinfectants should be reserved for hospitals and home care of patients with suppressed immune systems. If there is an outbreak of a communicable disease in your home, things to disinfect would be shared items like door handles, telephones, keyboards and utensils. Even then, keep in mind that normal, everyday boring soap will kill about 99.4% of the bacteria on your skin. Antibacterial soaps increase it to only about 99.6% (for triclosan soap).

The Risk of Resistance

Just like regular antibiotics used to treat infection, the overuse of antibacterial cleaning products can lead to resistance and mutation. This can be serious widespread health risk that when otherwise treatable bacterial infections no longer respond readily to the drugs.
Recent news media has reported on the outbreaks of drug resistant MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA was one of the first germs to outwit all but the most powerful drugs. Staph bacteria are generally harmless unless they enter the body through a cut or other wound, and even then they often cause only minor skin problems in healthy people. But in older adults, small children and people who are ill or have weakened immune systems, ordinary staph infections can cause serious illness or death.
Scientific studies have also shown correlation between homes that are over cleaned with antibacterial products and increased allergies in children. These studies suggest that overuse of antibacterial products may affect the immune system negatively. Bacteria and viruses serve to strengthen our immune systems. Children exposed to germs have strong, fully developed immune systems.
The overuse of antibacterial products on the skin may even cause more cases of some skin diseases. Some dermatologists point out that too much antibacterial soap can dry the skin and dry skin often results in a susceptibility to open sores. The open sores leave skin vulnerable to bacteria. If regular, rather than antibacterial, soap and cleaners are used, the problem could likely be avoided.

The 15 Second Rule

According to the Harvard Health Letter, washing your hands with soap and water for just 15 seconds kills 90% of bacteria. No Antibacterial products necessary. That’s right. Time tested thorough cleaning of your hands (or any surface area) for 15 seconds or more is sufficient enough to rid of bacteria and viruses.

Antibacterial Alternatives

Clean surfaces are naturally a hostile environment for bacteria and viruses. By simply keeping the surfaces in your home clean you eliminate their ability to thrive. Bleach is an effective agent against mold, mildew and bacteria. A solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach to 16 ounces of water is extremely effective in killing bacteria and viruses. Eco-friendly alternatives like hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are also effective and inexpensive to use.

Red Juice: Effective, Safe and Green

It is no accident that The Clean Team formulated Red Juice to be environmentally and personally safe. Without getting too much into to the doldrums of chemistry, Red Juice is basically a unique blend of surfactants, which is a fancy way of describing a compound that reduces the surface tension of the dirt clinging to the surface area. The surfactants in Red Juice break surface tension and allow the dirt to just float away. These surfactants in Red Juice are derived from sea kelp, soybeans and palm kernels among other natural ingredients. Most importantly, Red Juice lacks the surfactant found in most major retail cleaning solutions –something called Butyl Cellosolve. Formulated 25 to 30 years ago, Butyl Cellosolve is listed as a chemical contaminant, in accordance with California law. It can injure the kidneys, liver, nervous system and mucous membranes.
Red Juice has the USDA’s highest approval classification (A-1), meaning it can be used on and around food manufacturing equipment, in dairy processing plants and most importantly, your kitchen. It is non-toxic, odorless and quickly biodegrades..
Now, despite the scare tactics many manufactures are using today to sell more products, Red Juice is not a disinfectant. We don’t want to use a poison day in and day out. It lacks “killability” (thank goodness). Unfortunately as a society, we have been utterly frightened into washing our children and homes with antibacterial this, and disinfectant that in fear of germs (gasp!). But allow me to reason with this fear for just one exhaustive moment of your time. I want to avoid getting into the scientific evidence that has pointed to the fact that the overuse of antibacterial products and disinfectants are creating new, stronger viruses and bacteria to which we have no defenses against (think MSRA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and get to the real issue here. Antibacterial and disinfectant products KILL living cells on contact. That’s right I said KILL! As much as murdering those cold germs and preventing the umpteeth rinovirus breakout in your house this year is comforting, you needn’t kill them to prevent illness.
Outside of the fact that good old thorough hand washing (without antibacterial soap) has prevented illness and infection for almost a hundred years, you simply need a cleaner that cleans well. Red Juice cleans so well that bacteria and fungi are left with nothing to feed on, so the microbe count after cleaning a surface with Red Juice is close to zero. Add to that the act of wiping away the last few stragglers left behind, you have a bacteria free surface without the use of poison!

6 comments:

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